Don’t want to fight? Try these simple conflict-busters.


By Angelica Shiels Psy.D.

No, there isn’t going to be a flowery intro on this post; I’m just getting straight to the point (much like how your conversations will go if all goes right.)…

But I should say that these are gross generalizations of what women vs. men need to “work on,” based on my observations from therapy, a whole lot of other peoples’ theories, and statistics on relationship communication patterns. These tips are not necessarily fitting for everyone, but in a good number of cases, I find myself reminding the women and the men in couples therapy to practice these specific things…

Women (most often the initiator/pursuer)

1) Lead with a softer start-up. Touch his shoulder/grab his hand, lead with an “I-statement,” use a soft tone of voice and assume a neutral facial expression. Check criticism, blame, and anger at the door.

2) Be prepared to make a specific and realistic direct request of your man. Provide a solution and a way for him to save the day and be in your good graces once again. (Dramatic? Yes. Necessary? Hell yes.)

Men (most often the recipient/responder)

1) Tell her that what she’s saying makes sense and you would likely feel the same way if you were in her shoes. Check defensiveness and avoidance at the door.

2) Be prepared to honor and accommodate her direct request. Leave passivity and avoidance at the door. If something is getting in the way of follow-through (feared inadequacy, etc.) attempt to resolve the problem directly instead of pretending it doesn’t exist.

That’s not all there is to it, but I promised “simple” in the title, so here is me trying to offer the top two bare-bones suggestions. Hope it helps!


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